Pre-season test just what is needed

Easton 3, Norton Athletic 3: Norton travelled to Easton College to take on Anglian Combination Division Four side Easton in their second pre-season match.

Easton 3, Norton Athletic 3

Norton travelled to Easton College to take on Anglian Combination Division Four side Easton in their second pre-season match.

Norton were forced into several changes with the following players all missing: Rob Hills, Andy Boggis, Danny Hoadley, Nick Persich, Kevin Briers, Paul Harriman, Steve Nicol and Tom Hudson. This meant that manager Nigel Hudson had to play at the back with Reserve players Jon Green and Chris Burton also coming in with the former donning the gloves.

On a decent playing surface but in wet conditions Norton started the game well and for the opening 20 minutes were knocking the ball around crisply first time and using every player on the park and it was, therefore, no surprise when they gained the lead after good battling from Chris Smith saw the ball break to Ryan Hills who tucked a low shot home across the keeper inside the far post.

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Considering the amount of players missing Norton were actually playing some decent stuff and were restricting their opponents to very few scoring opportunities so much so that Green had not had a shot to save so far apart from dealing with a couple of corners.

With just the one sub Norton made a switch midway through the half.

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During the last ten minutes of the half Norton's work rate dropped slightly and this allowed Easton to come more into the game and just before the break they were gifted an equaliser as Dan Sanderson played a ball inside. This was intercepted and allowed two Easton forwards to home in on goal. Green got a hand to the shot but couldn't prevent it from crossing the line. Half-time: 1-1.

The second half saw a further change and for 15 minutes Easton were on top and duly gained the lead following a quick break as the Norton defence where caught too high up the pitch.

Norton then seemed to up their work rate again and this led to more of the ball in the Easton half and they were awarded a penalty after a clumsy challenge on Ryan Hills who duly converted. Shortly after and Norton were back in front when Carl Cooper, who had so far excelled at the back, went on a marauding run up the pitch, played a one-two in the box and lifted the ball home and on this showing he is in pole position to replace the injured Steven Hak.

Immediately though, Norton were pegged back as Easton breached the offside call.

Line-up: J Green, S Yarham, D Sanderson, C Cooper, N Hudson, R Hudson, J Cooper, C Smith, S Moore, Ry Hills, A Green, C Burton.

The next first team friendly is on Friday, August 22. The Reserves start their campaign this week with a home tie against Dyer Arms from the Norwich first division, kick-off is at 2.30pm.

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